Airbnb host fined over can­celling reser­va­tion

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

LOS AN­GE­LES: An Airbnb host who can­celled a reser­va­tion and told the guest, “One word says it all. Asian,” has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and at­tend a col­lege course in Asian-Amer­i­can stud­ies, of­fi­cials with the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fair Em­ploy­ment and Hous­ing said Thurs­day. The guest, Dyne Suh, had booked the home as part of a ski trip with her fi­ancÈ and friends in Big Bear in Fe­bru­ary. When she was close to the house, Suh mes­saged host Tami Barker through the Airbnb app, but the host can­celled the reser­va­tion af­ter a dis­pute over ad­di­tional guests.

Barker told Suh in a se­ries of mes­sages that she wouldn’t rent to her if she were the last per­son on Earth. “One word says it all. Asian,” one of the mes­sages said. When Suh told Barker that she would com­plain to Airbnb, Barker wrote, “It’s why we have Trump ... I will not al­low this coun­try to be told what to do by for­eign­ers.” Suh, who posted an emo­tional video about the in­ci­dent on YouTube, has said she’d agreed to pay $250 per night to rent the home and later asked Barker if two other friends could also stay at the house, which Barker agreed to.

Suh sent Barker screen­shots of text mes­sages where she agreed to the ad­di­tional guests, but Barker can­celled the reser­va­tion. As part of an agree­ment with state of­fi­cials, Barker also agreed to per­son­ally apol­o­gize to Suh and per­form com­mu­nity ser­vice at a civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tion. A mes­sage left at a num­ber listed for Barker was not im­me­di­ately re­turned. Her at­tor­ney, Ed­ward Lee, said his client was “re­gret­ful for her im­petu­ous ac­tions and com­ments” and is pleased to have re­solved the mat­ter.

Suh said in a state­ment posted on Face­book that she was pleased the set­tle­ment in­cluded Barker’s agree­ment to at­tend an Asian-Amer­i­can stud­ies course and hoped the set­tle­ment would en­cour­age oth­ers to re­port dis­crim­i­na­tion. “I hope that more vic­tims of dis­crim­i­na­tion will feel en­cour­aged to come for­ward with their own sto­ries,” Suh wrote. “Your pain is not in­signif­i­cant and you are not alone.”—AP

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